Armed Or Unarmed

Some of the most well known martial arts do not teach people how to use weapons. Instead, their focus is on unarmed combat. The only contact the fighter has with a weapon is when they are disarming an opponent.

Over the years, news outlets such as the BBC have reported countless incidents of street attacks. Therefore, unarmed styles are great for learning how to survive real world scenarios. For example, if a student encounters someone with a knife, they will know how to turn the tables on their attacker.

Weapon-based martial arts is less concerned with real world combat. Instead, they teach students how to master archaic weaponry such as swords and canes. There are several ones that have endured over the years.


This Japanese sport teaches students to quickly draw their sword in response to a sudden attack. Movements are very fast. They include smoothly drawing the sword, striking the enemy, cleaning the blade and placing the sword back in its scabbard. Novices are given a wooden sword to begin with. This helps to prevent injuries. Eventually, they will move onto a blunt bladed sword. The most experienced fighters use sharp blades.


Gatka originated in Punjabi communities. Wooden sticks are utilised in order to simulate swords. It has been around since the 15th century and saw a great resurgence during the latter half of the 20th century. It has risen to become one of the most popular sport seen at Sikh festivals.


Fencing is one of the most well known weapon-based combat sports. There are three main types: foil, épée and sabre. Each one relates to the different kind of sword used, as well as how points are scored. The aim of fencing is to strike the opponent with a sword before they can do the same. It requires a high level of speed, reflexes and flexibility. Muscle memory is an important aspect of training.


If people are more interested in archery, then they may prefer this Korean sport. It involves using a special horn bow. Practitioners may kneel, hop or jump before striking the target with their arrow. Thumb rings are often worn for drawing the arrow. Gungsul celebrates the history and traditions of Korean culture.